Matthew 11:16-19 – The Inconvenient Truth

Posted: December 11, 2015 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 11:16-19
Wisdom and Folly

Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our knowledge of what we think is right and what we define as good that we fail to see the truth when it standing right in front of us. Have you ever had a co-worker that was hell-bent on defending their position just so that they would not have to admit to a mistake? Although evidence and proof is there to prove that they made a mistake, they will make sure that they come out the victor. They will throw you under the bus, as the saying goes, in a skinny minute if it means preserving their position. The truth is often a casualty with such people. That is work, but what about spiritual matters? We live in an age where the church is being challenged, the Bible is being challenged, as the definer of what is morally right. The world seems to have cast the church and the Bible aside and is now defining for itself what it right and what is wrong. In this passage, we see Jesus challenge this mentality. We think we are wise but our wisdom will be proven foolish in eternity.
16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

We call the Bible outdated. We call those who believe its words as disconnected from the reality of life in the 21st century. We are throwing the Bible under the bus just so we can preserve the lifestyles that we want to live. The church, even in some cases, is following culture just so it will be accepted and drifting away from the core truths of the Bible. All of us will be proven foolish when we thought we were wise when Christ returns and claims his church. Jesus says that wisdom will be shown by its results.

Our culture today is one that is all about defining for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. The envelope of what is acceptable is being pushed farther and farther beyond what God’s Word says is acceptable. The Bible has become an inconvenient truth so we have discarded it or redefined it on our own. We live in a culture today where whatever I want to do should be unimpeded as long it works for me. It may not work for you, but the way I live my life works for me so stay out of my life if you don’t like it. There are no more moral absolutes. We live the way that works for us. We push the boundary line of what is morally wrong further and further out with each passing year. We say here’s where the new line is drawn. Over there, well, that’s wrong. This new ground here is OK because we say it’s OK. We pat ourselves on our backs for our enlightened nature now. For example, our own Supreme Court redefined marriage as between any people who are committed to each other. Moral boundary reset and we dance in the public square of our enlightenment. There are those who disagree and say what’s next? Having multiple wives and a husband in a single union? Having multiple husbands and a single wife in a union. What about three guys marrying each other? As long as they are committed to one another? Those who support redefined marriage scoff at such comments by detractors saying that is absurd. Who is to say what is absurd. Only 50 years ago, gay marriage was considered absurd. The moral lines got pushed out by man to allow him to live the way wants to. Before you start bashing me on gay marriage, it is not the only place that man is pushing the borders of morality to new further out limits. Look at traditional marriage between a man and a woman. How screwed up has that become? How many of us reading this right now have been divorced? How many have been divorced multiple times? How many of us have been divorced for reasons of sexual infidelity either on our part or the part of our former spouse? Sexual intercourse is almost seen as a sport now. It is no longer the purview of marriage. Sex is what I want and when I want it and we don’t care who it hurts in the process. Sex outside of marriage is glorified now. Boundaries pushed out and reset. It’s not just sex. Just think of parenting. Look at all the single parents out there where the husband has nothing to do with the family he created. All of it today is all about what’s right for me. Let me live my life the way I want. We pat ourselves on the back because of our enlightened pursuit of self-actualization. Jesus says the wisdom will be proved right by her deeds. Jesus says the proof will be in the pudding. What we take as enlightenment will prove to be our self-destruction in the end. Jesus says that He is the way, the truth, and the life. What we take as old fashioned in the Bible will in the end prove our enlightenment to be pure folly.

The Greek word we translate as wisdom in this passage is “sophia”. It is defined as understanding the true nature of things. It is from this root word that that we get the work, philosophy. We must learn that God’s Word is the true nature of things. We may run from it. We say it is not true. We may say that it is antiquated and out of date. All of these claims do not make the Bible any less true. The truth is the truth. We cannot argue in one generation that something is true and then in the next say it is not true. That then implies what was once true is now false. That is false philosophy. It something is true it is always true. One plus one is always going to equal two regardless of whether you temporarily say it is three. Truth never changes. Lies can change because they are false. Falsehood ultimately implodes upon itself because that which is false is flawed and cannot be sustained. Only truth endures. Only that which is eternally true survives. Even the church has fallen into the fascination with self actualization and self-definition of what is right and what is wrong. We have churches in our own community that have basically said that it is better to be in line with culture than the Bible (think FBC-Greenville, SC) so that we can reach more people. When did that happen? When we step away from the eternal truths of the Bible we may fancy ourselves as an enlightened church but we just put our feet firmly on the slippery slope. To accept what is culturally normal rather than trying to change the culture one person at a time, we will slowly have to remove parts of the Bible to fit in. We will have to get rid of the Old Testatment for sure. We will have to get rid of a good bit of what Paul said and even parts of what Jesus said. Once we are done marrying ourselves to the culture, the Bible will be the size of nice pamphlet. Just because currently the culture sees God’s Word as old-fashioned and out of date does not mean that it is no longer necessary. It simply means we are a generation of people who have drifted far away from its values and are trying to justify it. We claim the Bible is no longer true. It no longer applies. That, my friends, is the folly that Jesus is talking about here. Claiming falsehood as truth does not make the falsehood truth. It is like saying the 800 lb. gorilla in the room is not really there. Saying it is not there does not make it not there. Saying the Bible is not true for us any more does not make any less the truth. We call it enlightenment. We call it forward thinking. We call it wisdom. We call those who cry in the wilderness about this broodish generation as old-fashioned bigots and haters.

Then one day, we either meet our Maker or Christ returns. What then? All of our enlightenment will be proved to be folly. When God judges us by the standard of His eternal and ever-true Word where will we stand then? As a culture? As his church? Did we call falsehood truth and pat ourselves on the back. Or did we stand on God’s Word? Our wisdom will be proven by our results. God wins. Truth wins. All else is folly. Amen and Amen.

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